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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News, March 9, 2008

Edited by Sue George with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Cancellara not pleased with UCI's battle

By Gregor Brown in Siena

Cancellara is using the gravel roads
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Fabian Cancellara added his second win of the 2008 season Saturday in Siena with the Monte Paschi Eroica, but shortly after, the Time Trial World Champion was quick to criticise the on-going battle regarding the Paris-Nice. The 26 year-old Swiss won the 181-kilometre race held on white gravel roads ahead of Alessandro Ballan of Lampre.

"In the end, I had a lot of emotions in my head, and this drove me on to give my maximum," said Cancellara, whose palmarès includes two World time trial titles and the 2006 Paris-Roubaix. He noted the beauty of the Italian race before switching his attentions the problems preceding the running of this year's Paris-Nice – the battle between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and race organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO). (See UCI vs. Grand Tours.)

"I think that they are working against cycling – UCI and ASO. They are only thinking about themselves and not looking for our interests, the cyclists and the sport. With doping problems, this just adds further problems. It is a big piece of shit – sorry to say."

He was not particularly pleased with UCI's president, Irishman Pat McQuaid. "ASO is the greatest organiser, and the UCI does not want to give rights to them. ... If one is the head of business, how can he say that we will be suspended if we race an important race. We want to race, not talk." The UCI had threatened riders who start "The Race to the Sun" with a six month suspension and possible sanctions against their teams.

"The UCI is making a mistake. Strike? The teams have pressure to race." He was asked if McQuaid should step down as president of the UCI, "I don't think it would change much. However, if one can not manage a company, then he should not spend much time there."

Prudhomme happy, McQuaid not

Director of the Tour de France Christian Prudhomme
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Amaury Sport Organisation's Christian Prudhomme is looking forward to Sunday's Paris-Nice, while UCI President Pat McQuaid is considering the grim consequences to the ProTour. ASO opted not to participate in the ProTour and instead of running the event under UCI sanctioning, Paris-Nice will happen under the rules of the French federation. Although McQuaid threatened the teams, riders and the French Federation with consequences for participating in a non-UCI-sanctioned Paris-Nice, the teams voted Friday to do so anyway.

"My priority now is to give the race back to the riders and celebrate its 75th anniversary on the Mount Ventoux slopes on Thursday," said a pleased Tour de France director Prudhomme according to Eurosport.

On the other hand, McQuaid lamented the resulting state of the ProTour given recent events. "The ProTour system as it is today is completely bombed". Eurosport asked McQuaid about the UCI's plans if teams are excluded from the ProTour. "We'd start on a new system with the teams, organisers and cyclists who wish to respect the regulations of the UCI. What is at stake is the authority and the autonomy of the UCI."

RSC Sport organizer Angelo Zomegnan stood behind ASO after recent events. "We can't accept the abuse from the UCI anymore. It is not my goal to know if Pat McQuaid is unhappy with us. We are unhappy with him. The teams and riders are against McQuaid."

The teams have requested a meeting of all involved parties after the finish of Paris-Nice on March 16.

Silence-Lotto explains Paris-Nice reasoning

"Our team has decided to participate at Paris-Nice," said Team Silence-Lotto, explaining simply, "We do not want to take a position, we want to race."

Noting the importance of the race to the team, and "with regards to the engagement by the UCI ProTour four years ago, our team has decided to participate at Paris-Nice, for the interest of cycling," the team said in a press release.

"But our team wishes – for the cycling sport, for our supporters, for our riders and for our sponsors – that a dialogue starts between UCI, the race organizers, the teams and the riders, to put an end to the present conflict situation," it added.

The statement concluded, "It is high time that all parts start considering, and that a solution is found, cycling has already suffered enough."

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
September 26, 2008 - UCI declares peace, appoints new VP
August 30, 2008 - UCI re-signs five ProTour races
August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - Feedback on 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

Slipstream's Hesjedal and Cozza pleased with "cool" Eroica

By Gregor Brown in Siena

Ryder Hesjedal (Slipstream Chipotle - H30) shows the efforts
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Two of Team Slipstream Chipotle-H30 younger riders, Ryder Hesjedal and Steven Cozza, were pleased with what they considered a "cool" Monte Paschi Eroica. The 181-kilometre Italian race, organised by RCS Sport, takes in le strade bianche ("white gavel roads") around the Tuscan town of Siena.

"It was one of the coolest races I have done," said Hesjedal to Cyclingnews. He was happy with the day's efforts, which started when he entered the escape group of 25 at 26 kilometres from the start town of Gaiole in Chianti. The 27 year-old of the USA Professional Continental team, which will race the Giro d'Italia in May, attacked his escape companions with 27 kilometres remaining and remained solo for another 18 kilometres. "I was just happy to be at the top of the climb, but they came by so quick," he added of the Fabian Cancellara and Alessandro Ballan winning move.

"I am building for Tirreno-Adriatico, so it was a good sign. It was awesome out there – a great environment."

23 year-old team-mate Cozza confirmed the race's beauty, "The race is meant for me, it is a cool race, I loved it."

He finished 16th for the day. "I was starting all the sections in the back and then I would work my way to the front. The team did well today, and Ryder kicked some butt." The team's highest place rider – after the efforts of Hesjedal – was Martyn Maaskant, who finished in fourth behind Linus Gerdemann of Team High Road.

After racing in Belgian and in Italy on Saturday, Cozza will head to Spain's Vuelta a Castilla y Leon.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of Monte Paschi Eroica.

Cipollini's Sanremo still in doubt

By Gregor Brown in Siena

Mario Cipollini
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Italian Mario Cipollini attended the start of the Monte Paschi Eroica to see the first RCS Sport event of 2008 depart, while hoping the organiser will open a spot in Milano-Sanremo for his team, Rock Racing. The 2002 World Champion, who returned from retirement to race in the Tour of California, wants to enter the race he won in six years ago with the USA-based Continental team, but knows it will be difficult.

"It is difficult to enter the Sanremo at this point, but the desire is there," the 40 year-old from Lucca noted at the start of "Eroica" on Saturday morning in Gaiole in Chianti.

The team started by Michael Ball has difficulties entering into events such as the Milano-Sanremo due to its status as a Continental team; such teams are not allowed to race in ProTour events under International Cycling Union (UCI) rules, but since the status of RCS Sport organised races has recently changed there might be a chance.

"We can't say anything about Sanremo at this point; look what is happening in Paris-Nice. We don't know what will happen. To judge the situation at this moment seems impossible. We are preparing the team in hopes that we will race."

This will be Cipollini's last chance to participate in the race known as La Classicissima as he indicated he will not be on the bike in 2009. "No, absolutely no," he clarified. "I will not be riding but – I hope – with him [Ball], managing the team."

"The Lion King" saw the riders part for the 181-kilometre run, famous for its white gravel roads, although he had no desire – at his age – to race. "I would like to do this race, but maybe I am already a little bit too old for Eroica."

Euskaltel - Euskadi's Fernández de Larrea overjoyed in Murcia

By Monika Prell

Fernández celebrated on the podium
Photo ©: Susanne Goetze
(Click for larger image)

Making good on his intentions, Koldo Fernández de Larrea (Euskaltel - Euskadi) earned a stage win on the last day of the Vuelta a Murcia. The 26 year-old Basque rider won the mass sprint ahead of Australian Graeme Brown (Rabobank) and the Argentinean Juan José Haedo (CSC). He was overjoyed after the finish.

"The work of my team-mates was impeccable, I am very satisfied. This took a load off my mind," the winner said according to the team's website

It was Fernández' second win as professional rider; his first was the final stage of the Tirreno Adriatico in 2007. "My team-mates worked for me during the entire race, and to be able to celebrate this victory with them is very important," said Fernández de Larrea. "In today's stage they helped me to survive the last ascent while doing the least amount of work possible. Then, 300 meters before the finish, "Samu" [Sánchez] said to me, 'Come on, come on! Sprint!'"

"This year I really needed a win," the stage victor reflected. "The victory in Tirreno Adriatico helped me, but I really changed my approach during the Vuelta a España. I realised that I can't wait for what the others do. When the stars of this discipline accelerate, you can't do anything, because they already are at the top and it is very difficult to beat them. For this reason, I have to try my luck when I think that it is the right moment." Fernández de Larrea said the new approach allows him to "be more routine in the races" and be "more self-confident and more experienced".

Looking to the upcoming Vuelta a Castilla y León, the Spring Classics and the Giro d'Italia, Fernández said, "Now I have a little pause before participating in the Vuelta a Castilla y León. This is a race with a very selective route. I don't know if there will be many possibilities for a sprint, but if so, we will try to be in the fight."

"I still have to improve my competition form. The Giro d'Italia is my big objective in this first part of the season, and I still need more to get into perfect shape," said the young sprinter.

Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde kept his overall leader's jersey and won the final general classification. Stefano Garzelli (Acqua Sapone - Caffè Mokambo) and Alberto Contador (Astana) finished second and third in the general classification.

See full coverage of the final stage of the Vuelta a Murcia.

Time trial concludes Giro del Capo for successful Barloworld

Christian Pfannberger (Barloworld) sits comfortably
Photo ©: Alex Rose-Innes
(Click for larger image)

Team MTN's David George took top honors in the individual time trial, the final stage of the Giro del Capo Saturday. The South African won by 7.25 seconds over Dominique Cornu (Belgian National Team) and 12.43 seconds over race leader Christian Pfannberger (Barloworld). It was the fifth time ever, and the third time consecutively, that George won this Signal Hill time trial.

But it was Team Barloworld who dominated the race. Pfannberger, with in third for the day, made it two consecutive race overall individual wins for his team. He won not only the overall, but also the points jersey, and team-mate Christopher Froome took second overall. Meanwhile, Robert Hunter, who has made his reputation as a sprinter, surprised some by taking home the King of the Mountains jersey and the squad together collected the team classification win.

"I am ecstatic with today's results," said Barloworld Team Manager Claudio Corti after stage 5. "We came to Giro del Capo to do well and win. To win in this beautiful city, in the homeland of our sponsor is very special for the team and we are all very happy."

See full coverage of the Giro del Capo.

Volksbank's woes in Driedaagse

Just about nothing went right for Team Volksbank in the first stage of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen on Friday. The team brought Olaf Pollack into position for the end sprint, but a crash 250 meters before the finish line stopped him and the other top sprinters.

"The riding was almost criminal there at the end," Pollack, 34, said. "Daniel Musiol and Josef Benetseder brought me well into position, but the crash directly in front of me was just bad luck."

Another crash had more serious consequences. Pascal Hungerbühler crashed, and came out of it with bruises and "a wound on his elbow, which doesn't look good," according to Directeur Sportif Gregor Gut. The Swiss rider was nevertheless expected to start again on Saturday.

He did start but didn't get far, though, and not because of injuries. As team spokesman Michael Fruhmann told Cyclingnews, "After the crash, Hungerbühler rode 600 meters behind the team auto, and so got back into the field. He started today and was belatedly disqualified by the race organisers for the events of yesterday. The jury also wanted to disqualify the team car – but after a long and loud discussion, it was allowed to remain in the race, at least for the time being..."

Mitsubishi offered to not start Vandenbroucke

Professional Continental Team Mitsubishi-Jartazi has admitted that the team offered to sacrifice Frank Vandenbroucke in exchange for the UCI's wild-card status for ProTour races. "The wild card status is very important to the team and sponsor," Manager Patrick Stallaert told Het Laatste Nieuws. The team sent a letter to the UCI on February 12 with the offer, which the UCI evidently accepted, as the team was granted the wild-card status.

"It is painful for Frank, but we can't sacrifice 25 riders for him," Stallaert said. "VDB", who is currently training in Italy, said, "I would never believe that Stallaert would have consciously sacrifice me. But I understand completely that the team is more important."

Vandenbroucke had indicated that he would sue the UCI over the decision.

Fourth round of Sunshine Cup heads to Voroklini

Jaroslav Kulhavy leads Roel Paulissen at round three of the Sunshine Cup
Photo ©: Armin M. Küstenbrück
(Click for larger image)

After a week of rest since the Afxentia Stage Race, mountain bikers will head to round four of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup at Voroklini. All three male podium contenders from last Sunday's cross country Roel Paulissen, Jaroslav Kulhavy, and Andreas Kugler are registered along with Sunshine Cup newcomers European marathon championship bronze medallist Moritz Milatz and Manuel Fumic, both of whom will be making their 2008 season debut. Fumic finished fifth at the World Championships in 2007.

Round three of the Sunshine Cup, which also served as stage three of the Afxentia, saw tight competition with no decision made among the four strongest racers until the final lap. Paulissen now leads the overall ranking and is the top favorite for round two, but Jaroslav Kulhavy's performances, including his win on Sunday, have not gone unnoticed and Andreas Kugler and Christoph Soukup are two more to watch. The latter was stopped last weekend by a crash.

Compared to last year's race, the Voroklini cross country course has changed its direction and gained more singletrack – something that should suit Kulhavy. Karl Platt is sitting on third place overall in the Sunshine Cup and if he has recovered, may be a strong contender Sunday.

On the women's side, favorites include Sabine Spitz, Tereza Hurikova, Petra Henzi, Elisabeth Osl and Heather Irmiger. German Spitz will be looking for a hat trick. She won both Sunshine Cup races last weekend ahead of Czech Tereza Hurikova, she is set for another battle. Challenging them will likely be 38 year-old Petra Henzi, marathon world champion. If the in-form Henzi goes with mechanical problems on this round, she could beat both Hurikova and Spitz.

Sunshine Cup round one winner Heather Irmiger will be hoping to come back strong after recovering from the Axfentia stage race. Two other Germans to watch include Katrin Schwing and Adelheid Morath as they both begin their competitive season.

Freiburg investigation widens after latest Sinkewitz statements

Investigators in Freiburg, Germany, are widening their investigation, based on the most recent statements from former T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz. He allegedly has given the names of other riders who went to the Freiburg University Clinic with him for blood transfusions after the first stage of the Tour de France 2006. "On the evening before the tour I rode with Andreas {Klöden} where we both received blood doping transfusions," he is alleged to have said, according to

It is "not very probable, that Sinkewitz doped alone," Wolfgang Maier, a spokesman for the Freiburg prosecutor, told the German press agency dpa. Maier confirmed that Sinkewitz had named names in the most recent questioning. Previously he had always said that he had gone alone to the clinic. In order to discover which of the two versions of the story is correct, the investigators wanted to question not only additional cyclists, but also Sinkewitz' former girlfriend, who is supposed to have accompanied him to the clinic.

Maier said he hoped that now "things would start to move", and added that he was "more confident than last week" that the situation would be cleared up.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that Sinkewitz specifically named Andreas Klöden and Matthias Kessler, but Maier would neither confirm nor deny which names were mentioned.

Team Type 1 off to Taiwan

Matt Wilson (Team Type 1)
Photo ©: Kurt Jambretz
(Click for larger image)

Fresh off a 10-day training camp in the Santa Ynez Valley near Buellton, California, Team Type 1 is headed to the Tour of Taiwan to help Shawn Milne defend his title at the seven-stage, week-long UCI 2.2 race from March 9-15.

The team made a strong start to the season last month at the Tour of Langkawi where Australian Matt Wilson earned a top 10 finish on individual classification while helping the team to a second place in the team classification.

"You wouldn't know we are a first-year team by the caliber of our roster or our recent race results in Malaysia," Team Manager Ed Beamon said. "Team Type 1 was built to make a difference – not only for people who have diabetes, but also to get results so they can root for a winning team."

Team Type 1's roster for the Tour of Taiwan includes Milne, Jesse Anthony, Chris Jones, Valeriy Kobzarenko and Phil Southerland. Kobzarenko is in his fifth season as a pro, Milne in his fourth, Anthony in his third, Jones in his second and Southerland, team's co-founder, is a rookie pro.

At the team's training camp which ran from February 26 to March 5, riders from both the professional and developmental team rode together, attended sponsor presentations, photo shoots and media training, and performed community outreach in the form of a school appearance to students at Oak Valley Elementary.

SEW forms to boost women's cycling

A new organization called South East Women's (SEW) Cycling has formed to support the racing of women by women at all levels. SEW is looking to grow women's cycling by providing women the opportunity to race multiple events, earning points and prizes; reduce barriers to beginner women by providing separate category 3/4 races where they can learn and put into practice race tactics and pack skills; provide quality racing for advanced women in a competitive environment by providing separate category 1/2/3 races; and create a sustainable series where women's racing is profitable.

The new SEW series will promote women's racing in the South Eastern US and is a compilation of existing races, but has no exclusive affiliation with an promoter, event or racing series.

SEW Series
March 15: Hoover Criterium, Hoover, Alabama
April 5-6: Atomic Race Weekend, Tallahassee, Florida
April 12-13: Racoon Mountain, Chattanooga, Tennessee
May 3: Sunny King Cat. 3/4 Criterium, Anniston, Alabama
May 17-18: Cycleworks Race Weekend, Cherokee County, Georgia
June 13-15: Edgar Soto Criteriums, Nashville, Tennessee
July 19-20: Spring City Classic, Huntsville, Alabama,
August 23-24: River Gorge Race Weekend, Chattanooga, Tennessee
September 13: Pepper Place Criterium, Birmingham, Alabama

For more information, visit

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